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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 132374, 14 pages
Original Article

S-Petasin, the Main Sesquiterpene of Petasites formosanus, Inhibits Phosphodiesterase Activity and Suppresses Ovalbumin-Induced Airway Hyperresponsiveness

1Department of Internal Medicine, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taiwan
2Graduate Institute of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
3Department of Medical Technology, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
4National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

Received 30 March 2009; Accepted 15 June 2009

Copyright © 2011 Chung-Hung Shih et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


S-Petasin is the main sesquiterpene of Petasites formosanus, a traditional folk medicine used to treat hypertension, tumors and asthma in Taiwan. The aim of the present study was to investigate its inhibitory effects on phosphodiesterase (PDE) 1–5, and on ovalbumin (OVA)-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in a murine model of allergic asthma. S-Petasin concentration-dependently inhibited PDE3 and PDE4 activities with 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of 25.5, and 17.5 μM, respectively. According to the Lineweaver-Burk analysis, S-petasin competitively inhibited PDE3 and PDE4 activities with respective dissociation constants for inhibitor binding (Ki) of 25.3 and 18.1 μM, respectively. Both IC50 and Ki values for PDE3 were significantly greater than those for PDE4. S-Petasin (10–30 μmol/kg, administered subcutaneously (s.c.)) dose-dependently and significantly attenuated the enhanced pause (Penh) value induced by methacholine (MCh) in sensitized and challenged mice. It also significantly suppressed the increases in total inflammatory cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils and levels of cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4 and IL-5, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of these mice. In addition, S-petasin (10–30 μmol/kg, s.c.) dose-dependently and significantly attenuated total and OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels in the serum and BALF, and enhanced the IgG2a level in serum of these mice. The PDE4H value of S-petasin was >300 μM; therefore, its PDE4H/PDE4L value was calculated to be >17. In conclusion, the present results for S-petasin at least partially explain why Petasites formosanus is used as a folk medicine to treat asthma in Taiwan.